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FIB - Scams 101
NOW 34 Things About AWAI Michael Masterson SCAM
Posted By: Tim In Response To: Re: 21 Things U Need To Know About AWAI Michael Masterson (Someone)
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2007, at 8:33 a.m.(pst)
In Response To: Re: 21 Things U Need To Know About AWAI Michael Masterson (Someone)
Here's my new and improved 34 things you need to know about AWAI and Michael Masterson's Accelerated Six Figure Copywriting Program. It's hard to decide which word best describes this whole scheme. But words that come to mind are fraud, scam, rip off, con, fake or hoax. In term "sleeze" might be a good one to throw in. They are certainly engaged in fraud, false advertising and deceptive and unconscionable business practices, intentionally and knowingly make false and misleading representations with the intent to deceive. Picture a tacky salesman with a loud, plaid sport coat standing in a used car lot and you'll get the idea of what you're dealing with.
1 For starters, AWAI is not a school. In fact, they recently got into some legal difficulties with the State of Florida for pretending to be a school. That's why they had to change their name from "institute" to INC.
2 The program is nothing more than a cheap correspondence/home study course. There are no graduates, no diplomas. And after completion, you've gained no credentials or credibility.
3 The critiques they offer to do on your assignments are done by copywriter wannabes, not real, talented, professional, accomplished copywriters. They pay these wannabes a lousy $10 for each critique. So ask yourself how good of a critique are you going to get for $10. All they do is write down a bunch of standard comments and return it to you.
4 If AWAI and Mr. Masterson were really experts at copywriting, why do operate out of a dingy little building on a dumpy high crime side street in Delray Beach, Florida? If you ever visited the place, you wouldn't buy anything from them.
5 Most (if not all) of the so-called copywriting experts who answer student's questions are not even copywriters.
6 The promotions they use to sell the course is absolutely bloated with careful omissions, half-truths, lies, distortions, deceptions, selective memories, phony testimonials, exaggerated claims, over-simplifications, forced conclusions, unsubstantiated “facts”, hype, fluff and good old fashioned trickery. It really is a remarkably involved and finely crafted charade that convinces people they can truly earn over $100,000 a year after taking some poorly written, lame correspondence course or attending a silly 3-day rah-rah “bootcamp”… for a hefty price.
7 The testimonials they use a worthless, many written by people who are paid to speak at AWAI seminars and who have other business dealings with the company. Michael Masterson often uses testimonials from family members (his brother's name recently changed from Justin to Jason, a most curious thing). Many are written by copywriter wannabes who are trying to boost their careers. These are people who have failed as copywriters (despite taking the AWAI course) but are trying to project the image of a winners in the hopes of gaining some recognition. Their claims are completely unsubstantiated and fall in the category of wishful thinking.
8 At AWAI "bootcamps", the so-called job fair is nothing more than a bunch of Michael Masterson's cronies setting up booths and pretending to be interested in AWAI students. Most if not all the participating companies already have staff copywriters and don't need you, period.
9 The program is so lame that they have to throw in a bunch of "valuable" booklets with revealing "secrets" in an effort to entice you to buy. None of this extra stuff is any better than the course itself which is a poorly written, rudimentary and dumbed-down. The main part of the program is nothing more than a cheap 500 page loose-leaf notebook with a lot of blank parts for you to do your "exercises". The first 150 pages or so include very little learning and a lot of hype about what you're "going to learn." And they use a large font with really wide margins to fill up the pages. It's looks like something a third grader would use.
10 And all those "valuable" booklets and extras they throw in are ridiculously inflated in value. They'll tell say you are getting hundreds of dollars worth of "bonuses" for free when the "bonuses" have never sold for the amount stated. They simply assign a high value to them to mislead you.
11 In many ways, the course itself is a continuation of the promotions used to sell it. It is designed to get you all worked up for additional purchases. You think you are getting an all inclusive course, but then they say you need to know more... at a cost of thousands of dollars. It's sort of a variation of the old "bait and switch".
12 After you buy, AWAI will badger you to death trying to get you to spend more money on their "master's" program, bootcamps, CD's, DVD's, teleconferences, etc. They are quite aggressive about it because they have to squeeze you for all it's worth early, before you figure them out.
13 There is little evidence that the supposedly gifted Michael Masterson can actually write decent copy. Like many of these self-appointed copywriting gurus, he seldom (if ever) seems to actually be practicing his so-called profession. You would think there would be a lot more money in selling "billions" in products and services than in suckering people into a silly, get rich quick copywriting course. And for some strange reason, you never actually get to see any samples of his "killer" copy.
14 If AWAI was really cranking out the next generation of big money-making copywriters, and if the program really worked, wouldn't they have trouble retaining their own employees? Wouldn't their staff use the course and be constantly leaving for greener, more profitable six-figure copywriting pastures? Either the AWAI staff is made up of stupid, lazy fools, or they don't believe the pile of manure they are spreading.
15 When trying to secure a job as a copywriter, saying you completed the Michael Masterson's Accelerated Six Figure Copywriting Program will only get you laughed at. The real world is looking for real, professional, creative, talented, educated, experienced, proven copywriters who know how to drive sales, not correspondence course graduates. AWAI intentionally and recklessly misrepresents the job market for freelance copywriters.
16 The truth is, AWAI is simply telling you what you want to hear. They say it's fast, it's fun, it's easy, anybody can do it, there's big money in it, you'll get famous, people will envy your new life, you can live and work anywhere, you don't need writing skills, etc. They even call it retirement. None of this is true. They would probably tell you it cures cancer if they thought they could get away with it.
17 But the scam is so good that some poor souls are into the course for a few years before they realize they've been constantly shelling out money and their careers are still stuck at the starting gate.
18 When negative comments start popping up on the Internet, AWAI has employees, friends and family start posting phony testimonials to offset the bad press.
19 You can buy a $20 book at your local bookstore and get better copywriting instruction than AWAI's $500 program.
20 Michael Masterson uses the same approach with his ezine Early To Rise (ETR). He is constantly selling himself as an expert on everything under the sun in an effort to set his readers up for all sorts of "get rich quick", "pie in the sky" products.
21 And AWAI likes to scam you into working for free. They will entice you to write a promotion "on spec" with the promise that if they like it, you'll be rewarded in some fashion. Don't fall for it. It's just designed to keep you on the hook for as long as possible. Working for free is not the same thing as a six-figure income.
22 If you've already purchased the copywriting program, don't feel bad. You're not alone. Like I said, it's an effective scam.
23 The guy's real name is Mark Ford. There is no such person as Michael Masterson. And his brother Justin Ford, who is used for testimonials regularly, seems to have an identity crisis. Recently his name has begun appearing as Jason Ford. A sister, Denise Ford, is also a player in all this (I guess it's a family scam), as is a John Forde who is supposedly no relations.
24 Michael Masterson uses ghost writers to write his books. He assigns different writers to different topics or chapters. More smoke and mirrors.
25 AWAI has been offering a $10,000 prize for anyone who can write a good promotion for them. It's sort of challenge they came up with so they can sucker people into the copywriting course and lead them into believing there is instant money to be made. In all the years they've been in operation, and the countless thousands and thousands of copywriting programs they've sold, they've only given the prize out once. And it took the winner something like 10 months of writing and rewriting to get it. You can make $10k faster making french fries at McDonald's.
26 And of course I could go on and on. I could tell you of the tremendous effort put forth by AWAI to try to create the illusion that it's all legitimate, to perpetuate the myth. The endless, ongoing work designed to make the whole sham appear honest, honorable and trustworthy.
Schlesinger says classic con men, besides being psychopathic and greedy, are driven by a need to show the world how clever they are. "Their thinking is, 'Look at all these schmucks who actually go to work and earn so much less than I do. I get up at 11, work four hours a day, and make millions.' "
Their schemes are meticulously planned, and not just to elude law enforcement. "They have an overwhelming need to let others know how smart they are," says Schlesinger.
27 I could tell you how the people who fall for this scam are generally the most unsavvy individuals when it comes to sales and marketing, hence their vulnerability.
28 And ask yourself this. With all this false and misleading stuff going on, what else is wrong here? Once your credibility is gone... it's gone. Just take AWAI's sales pitch and go line by line, sentence by sentence, all the while asking yourself why you should believe what they are telling you.
29 And of course AWAI's other courses are just as hyped, whether it's their resume writing course, their travel writing course or their graphic design course. All too good to be true.
30 And what about Monica Day, AWAI's poster girl of success? They claim she got thousands of dollars of copywriting work immediately after attending AWAI's copywriting bootcamp. Right out of the clear blue sky. It was miraculous. What they don't tell you is that the work came from Michael Masterson. He arraigned it. She is their much needed, but completely manufactured success story. So, after selling untold thousands of copywriting programs, the very best AWAI can come up with is one, single, lowly fabricated success story?
31 But, if you still are interested in Michael Masterson's goofy copywriting program, it shows up regularly on eBay. Last time I looked, 5 had been listed, attracting bids in the $53 - $142 range.
32 And the course deals exclusively with direct marketing copywriting. That's only a part of the copywriting world. What happens when you try to hustle up some work and someone asks to see other work you've done?
33 And just think of the huge, quality library of copywriting materials you could buy for $500. A bookshelf fll of useful, diverse material. Check your local book store or sources online. You'd get a well rounded education vs. this cheap, tacky, over-blown course. Taking some college courses in marketing and sales would help too.
34 As for AWAI's record with the Better Business Bureaus, please don't tell me you trust the BBB. Do a little research on them. Where do you think their money comes from? The BBB is an irrelevant organization. In their eyes, no business is a bad business until authorities arrest the owners. Only then will they finally admit there were complaints.
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